Ann Street Mennonite Church (Peoria, Illinois, USA)

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The Peoria Mennonite Mission on Garden Street in 1921. Gospel Herald photo.

The Garden Street Mennonite Mission in Peoria, Illinois, USA, began as a mission outpost of the Illinois Mennonite Conference in 1919. It was also generally known as the Peoria Mennonite Mission. The first service was held on 16 February 1919 in a former saloon that was soon purchased for $4,000. John Roth of Morton, Illinois, served as the first temporary superintendent of the Sunday school and mission post. John and Viola Harnish became the first resident mission leaders in the fall of 1919.

After the property was mortgage free with a clear title, the Illinois Conference turned the mission over to the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities in December 1920. On 29 October 1922, the group formally organized as a congregation; John Harnish was ordained as its minister on 24 December 1922.

In 1927 the mission board sold the Garden Street property, which had become too small. It purchased a property on Ann Street and erected a parsonage and a church. The church building measured 28' by 46'. The new building was dedicated on 25 December 1927. The congregation built an addition in 1954/55.

In late 1938 the congregation began a Sunday school in Bellevue Acres under the leadership of Orie A. Miller. Originally known as Bellevue Mennonite Church, this outreach evolved into an unaffiliated congregation known as Bellevue Bible Church.

Until the early 1950s, the congregation called itself the Peoria Mennonite Church. By 1954 the church began to call itself the Ann Street Mennonite Church. In 1960 the congregation became independent of the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities.

In 1971, Ann Street merged with the Gospel Mennonite Church to form the United Mennonite Church. It met on the Ann Street property.

See United Mennonite Church for the ongoing history of the joint congregation.


Buzzard, A. L. "A new mission opened" Gospel Herald 11, no. 49 (6 March 1919): 872.

Harnish, John L. "A promising mission field." Gospel Herald 14, no. 22 (1 September 1921): 439-440.

Smith, Willard. Mennonites in Illinois. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1983: 211-212, 279.

Weber, Harry F. Centennial history of the Mennonites of Illinois, 1829-1929. Goshen, Ind.: Mennonite Historical Society, 1931: 307-314. Available in full electronic text at

Additional Information

Address: 2105 West Ann Street, Peoria, Illinois



Denominational Affiliations: Mennonite Church (MC)

Illinois Mennonite Conference

Mission Superintendents/Pastoral Leaders at Ann Street Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
John Roth (1884-1969) 1919
John L. Harnish (1896-1985) 1919-1925
Lloy A. Kniss (Interim)(1897-1979) 1925
Earl Miller (1900-1987) 1925-1930
Charles Warren "C. Warren" Long (1904-1969) 1930-1947
Wilfred D. Ulrich (1920-2015) 1947-1950
Howard J. Zehr (1916-1977) 1950-1952
Jonathan J. "J. J." Hostetler (1905-2002) 1952-1967
John R. Lehman 1969-1971

Membership at Ann Street Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1925 26
1930 39
1940 118
1950 90
1960 93
1970 80

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By J. J. Hostetler. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 146. All rights reserved.

Peoria Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church), now known as the "Ann Street Mennonite Church," is located in the southwestern part of the city at 2101-5 West Ann Street, Peoria, Illinois. It was started as a mission in a former saloon at the corner of Garden Street and Western Ave., on 16 February 1919, by the Illinois District Mission Board. John Roth served as the first superintendent. In 1921 the work was placed in charge of the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities, which still sponsored the congregation in 1959. On 29 October 1922, the congregation was organized. In 1926 the mission building was sold and the following year the present parsonage and church were erected, greatly enlarged in 1954-58. The membership in 1958 was 86, with J. J. Hostetler as pastor.

In 1938 the congregation opened a branch Sunday school in Bellevue, just west of the city. This work was organized into an indigenous and later unaffiliated congregation, known as the Bellevue Bible Church.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published October 2022

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Ann Street Mennonite Church (Peoria, Illinois, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2022. Web. 7 Dec 2023.,_Illinois,_USA)&oldid=174230.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (October 2022). Ann Street Mennonite Church (Peoria, Illinois, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 7 December 2023, from,_Illinois,_USA)&oldid=174230.

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